Case Against Tymoshenko About To Collapse

KIEV, Ukraine -- The criminal case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko seemed about to collapse Thursday after key witnesses backed her account, while President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration had suddenly exposed itself as a party orchestrating the trial.

Yulia Tymoshenko (C) briefing the press on the steps of the Kiev court house.

Tymoshenko is on trial for allegedly ordering Naftogaz Ukrayiny to sign a controversial 10-year natural gas agreement with Gazprom in January 2009.

Prosecutors maintain that Tymoshenko broke the law by issuing the order in the form of directives that according to law must be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Tymoshenko denied the wrongdoing, and said the order was issued on behalf of herself as prime minister.

Tymoshenko’s account was suddenly backed on Thursday by Tetiana Korniakova, a deputy energy minister and a former deputy prosecutor general, who had testified at the trial.

Korniakova, citing an analysis by a respectful Ukrainian law institute, confirmed the order cannot be officially considered as the directives, de-facto backing Tymoshenko’s account.

“When witnesses start giving absolutely different testimonies then those given to prosecutors during the investigation, it means only one thing: the case has collapsed,” Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leader of the opposition Front of Changes, said in an interview with Channel 5.

The news of Korniakova’s testimony was first reported by Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper.

The chain of events that followed suddenly exposed the Yanukovych administration as the party that had been orchestrating the trial.

An email received by Ukrayinska Pravda with an attached Microsoft Word document denied the report, and insisted that Korniakova had demanded a correction.

“Tetiana Korniakova is shocked by such speculative approach to facts by journalists and demands an immediate apology from Ukrayinska Pravda and to change the headline,” the document stated.

But an inspection of the Word document file, under ‘properties,’ shows the document was written by a ‘user’ at institution ‘STPU,’ an abbreviation that stands for the ‘Secretariat of the President of Ukraine.’

All computers installed at the presidential administration carry the same name of the institution, ‘STPU,’ as has been known from numerous documents sent out by the presidential press service.

The revelation that the Yanuykovych administration has been coordinating testimonies at the Tymoshenko trial or making statements on behalf of witnesses is shocking.

It comes despite earlier repeated assurances by Yanukovych that his administration has nothing to do with the prosecution of Tymoshenko.

The revelation will now most likely be used by opposition groups as the proof that the cases against Tymoshenko and other opposition figures have been politically motivated and ordered by Yanukovych in order to destroy his political opponents.

“The criminal case has collapsed,” Yatseniuk said. “It has stopped being legal, and has become political only.”

“The case has been lost by the authorities on all fronts,” Yatseniuk said. “It has been lost on the domestic front and on the international front as well.”

Source: Ukrainian Journal